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Manufacturing efficient solar cells Return to case studies page

Increasing the efficiency of solar cells and reducing their manufacturing costs are key challenges in making their use economically viable.

When sunlight strikes a solar cell, the incident energy is converted directly into electricity by the photovoltaic effect without creating harmful pollution. Photovoltaic solar energy is one of the fastest growing renewable energy technologies in the battle to mitigate climate change.

Researchers at the Australian National University have found a means to fabricate a solar cell that allows more electrons to be captured to create a higher electrical current and a more efficient device. However, a critical step in this process is the “atomic layer deposition” (ALD) of an Al2O3 passivation film. This process remains a challenge for the industry as it is not a high throughput process. Using facilities at the ACT Node of ANFF, a new fabrication process based on reactive sputtering using an Al target + O2 has been developed instead. This is significantly easier than ALD and is a promising alternative for depositing the dielectric layer in commercial quantities.